Article Hindi

Chitragupta's 10 greatest hits – Birth centenary special


On the famed music director's 100th birth anniversary (16 November), we recall his best known compositions.

Sonal Pandya

Chitragupta Shrivastava held a double MA in Economics and Journalism and was a lecturer at Patna university. But he left it all in 1944 to come to Bombay and pursue his love for music.

Impressed by his knowledge of music, music composer SN Tripathi took him on as assistant from 1946 to 1951 and even recommended him to Homi Wadia for the music of Lady Robinhood (1946).

Thus began a four-decade career that saw Chitragupta compose hit music in over 100 Hindi films. He worked with all the top talent from Lata Mangeshkar to Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar. Here are some of the incomparable tunes from his career.

1. ‘Chali Chali Re Patang’ — Bhabhi (1957)

A lovely ode to an Indian favourite, the kite, ‘Chali Chali Re Patang’ was picturized on an unlikely duo, Jagdeep and Nanda. The two have a grand time flying kites in the song composed by Chitragupta and written by Rajinder Krishan. In fact, the album of Bhabhi (1957), which also starred Balraj Sahni and Shyama, who died on 14 November, was a triumph for the music composer with songs like ‘Chal Ud Jaa Re Panchhi’.

2. ‘Laagi Chhute Na Ab To Sanam’ — Kali Topi Lal Rumal (1959)

A song about lovers separating, ‘Laagi Chhute Na Ab To Sanam’ had the special Chitragupta touch. The lyrics were penned by Majrooh Sultanpuri and the duet was sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi. The song is picturized on the lead duo of Shakila and Chandra Shekhar.

3. ‘Tadpaaoge Tadpaa Lo’ — Barkha (1959)

Shubha Khote had a lovely solo number in Barkha (1959) composed by Chitragupta. Lata Mangeshkar delivered her best for this song written by Rajinder Krishan and so did Khote as she tries to win back an aggrieved Anand Kumar. ‘Tadpaaoge Tadpaa Lo’ was the highlight of the successful soundtrack.

4. ‘Rang Dil Ki Dhadkan Bhi’ — Patang (1960)

Mala Sinha played a blind girl, Shanti, in Patang (1960) opposite Rajendra Kumar’s Dr Rajan. In this sweet song, Lata Mangeshkar sounds very young as she sings for Sinha. The song ‘Rang Dil Ki Dhadkan Bhi’ was written by Rajinder Krishan and composed by Chitragupta. Their musical input had a large hand in the film’s overall success.

5. ‘Dekho Mausam Kya Bahar Hai’ — Opera House (1961)

Ajit aka Hamid Ali Khan, best known today for his villainous roles in later life, was the hero in this murder mystery by filmmaker PL Santoshi. In ‘Dekho Mausam Kya Bahar Hai’, with lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri, Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar sang for Ajit and South star Saroja Devi, respectively. Parts of the song sound a little similar to Jim Reeves’s 1953 hit ‘Bimbo’.

6. ‘Teri Duniya Se Door Chale Hoke Majboor’ — Zabak (1961)

An evergreen romantic number from Homi Wadia’s Zabak (1961), ‘Teri Duniya Se Door Chale Hoke Majboor’ was sung by the incomparable Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar. Written by Prem Dhawan, the song spoke of the huge class divide between the lovers, the commoner Zabak (Mahipal) and the princess Zainab (Shyama). They sang to each other about being forced to separate because of the gulf in social status.

7. ‘Tumhi Ho Mata Pita Tumhi Ho’ — Main Chup Rahungi (1962)

This beautiful prayer song written by Rajinder Krishan from Main Chup Rahungi focuses on child artiste Babloo instead of the film’s stars Sunil Dutt and Meena Kumari. The little boy, who lives in an orphanage, sings to the god Krishna, not knowing that his real parents are not far from him. Another number, the romantic 'Chand Jaane Kahan Kho Gaya', sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi and picturized on Dutt and Meena Kumari, is also quite lovely.

8. ‘Agar Sun Le To Ek Naghma’ — Ek Raaz (1963)

The piano song, once a fixture in many a Hindi film, has fallen by the wayside in modern times. ‘Agar Sun Le To Ek Naghma’ from Shakti Samanta’s Ek Raaz (1963) was a prime example of this type of song. Kishore Kumar was paired with Southern actress Jamuna in the film. Ek Raaz also starred Pran, Lalita Pawar and Agha. Majrooh Sultanpuri wrote the lyrics for the soundtrack.

9. ‘Machalti Hui Hawa Mein’ — Ganga Ki Lahren (1964)

Once again it was Kishore Kumar who sang and acted in this romantic duet from Ganga Ki Lahren (1964). The song, ‘Machalti Hui Hawa Mein’ by Majrooh Sultanpuri, was picturized on Kishore Kumar and Kum Kum. Kishore Kumar sang for himself on screen while Lata Mangeshkar provided the voice for Kum Kum in this upbeat number by the river.

10. ‘Aaja Re Mere Pyar Ke Rahi’ — Oonche Log (1965)

Phani Majumdar’s Oonche Log was an unusual film that featured a broken heart, a vengeful brother, and a dramatic confrontation between families torn apart by an act of violence. The film starred Ashok Kumar, Raaj Kumar, Feroz Khan and Tarun Bose. For the romantic song ‘Aaja Re Mere Pyar Ke Rahi’, Chitragupta and Majrooh Sultanpuri teamed up yet again to produce a memorable number. The song was picturized on Feroz Khan and Southern actress KR Vijaya.

Recall any Chitragupta composition that should have been part of this compilation? Write to us in the comments section below.